339A 2nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
After a show in Gowanus, Seth and I decided to grab a quick bite someplace in Park Slope and, given that it was a relatively nice night, albeit a bit on the drizzly side, we opted for Benchmark. Benchmark sits down a long alleyway, much like Freeman's in Nolita does. It has scads of outside seats, and even a large section of quasi outdoor seats under a tent. We sat there.
The beer list at Benchmark was a good sized one, filled mostly with microbrews that I'd never heard of. So, whilst sipping a brew and lamenting the autographs we didn't get, Seth and I placed our orders. The menu is a decidedly American one with strip steaks, lobster rolls, pot pies, pork cheek, and meatloaf. Seth skipped an appetizer (jerk) but I went for the Pulled Duck Confit, a duck salad with a poached egg and vinaigrette. This should have been amazing, but the vinaigrette was too much. I was fighting through its tanginess to taste my salad. But it could have been amazing.
I also chose the duck entree, Seared Duck Breast with a sweet mashed potato, mustard greens, under a fig and port reduction. The meat itself was phenomenal and the port reduction was perfect. The problem was that it was so sweet. The sweet potato pushed it over the edge, and by the end of the meal I was making an appointment with my doctor for diabetes medication. Once again, this was a dish that was so close to perfect, but one element of the end product just was too too too much. Seth's meal was the Benchmark Burger: dry aged ground beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, and fries. I took a taste and it was very good. Our waiter made a big deal about how they're one of the only restaurants that dry age their hamburger meat, but the truth is, you can't tell the difference. It was just a really good burger.
An appetizer, two entrees and four beers came to about $80 before tax and tip.
I don't know if I see myself making the trip from my apartment to Park Slope just for Benchmark ever again, but if I was already in the area and someone suggested it, I'd certainly go back. And I think that if I lived in Park Slope I could definitely imagine returning regularly to relax in the open air with beer and comfort food.
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